The Sixers are sitting atop the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Break. But with the Brooklyn Nets rounding into form, the Milwaukee Bucks possessing the reigning MVP, and the West's top teams not slowing down, President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey can't afford to be complacent as the trade deadline and buyout period approach.
And it sounds like execs around the league have already chalked up at least one move for the Sixers.
According to TrueHoop's Tom Haberstroh, execs around the league expect the Sixers to add veteran swingman P.J. Tucker either in the buyout market or in a trade:
Tucker turns 36 this spring and is on the last year of a four-year deal, so he'd clearly be a one-year rental addition to bolster the team's depth as they gear up for (ideally) a deep playoff run.
The question is, would Tucker even be worth the move?
You have to take everything with a grain of salt because he's been stuck on one of the worst teams in the league this season, but his three-point shooting is as low as it's been since 2012-13, his first season back in the NBA after spending five years abroad, his defensive win shares (1.0) haven't been this low since his rookie season, and he's turning the ball over at a career-high rate despite a career-low usage rate.
His offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage are also both at career-lows, a rough knock for a guy whose reputation is as a sneaky great rebounder.
Not exactly the kinds of numbers you get excited about, particularly from a guy who's getting up there in years.
The upside, then, is that Tucker has been putting in three-quarters effort all year with the knowledge that he might be moved at some point and be asked to contribute on a contender. Morey obviously knows Tucker from their time together in Houston. If Morey thinks it's a move he should make, I'm not going to be the one to question the guy who assembled this well-fitting Sixers roster in a matter of weeks at the beginning of his tenure.
When Tucker is hot, he's a solid three-point option and a sturdy if unspectacular defender. It could be worse.
But if Morey is serious about pushing for a title, Tucker can't be the only move the Sixers make.
We'll see what happens.